Police crack down on ‘harassment’ of politicians

Police are taking stronger measures against people who harass politicians and such incidents are falling, according to President’s Office Abbas Adil Riza.

The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has meanwhile alleged that freedom of speech is being unfairly restricted by the crackdown.

Commenting on the arrest of an MDP activist known as Okay Zahir – who allegedly called the Islamic Affairs Minister a ‘baaghee’, or ‘traitor’ – Abbas said that Zahir stood accused of harassment.

Local media reported yesterday that Zahir’s period in detention had been extended by a further 10 days after his original arrest on August 7. Zahir is a former director of the Thilafushi Corporation (TCL).

Abbas alleged that the accused “verbally abused the Islamic Minister”, engaging in “indecent behaviour” towards Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Seed whom he claimed was in the company of his nine year-old son at the time of the incident.

Neither Sheikh Shaheem nor Police Spokesman Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef were responding to calls at time of press.

A source who had seen the arrest warrant claimed that Zahir was accused of approaching Shaheem’s son on a number of different occasions, inquiring as to the whereabouts of “baaghee Shaheem”.

The source stated that police obtained the warrant due to their belief that this alleged offence would be repeated.

MDP spokesman Hamed Abdul Ghafoor stated that the charges against Zahir seemed “very bizarre”, and expressed his concern that “the scope of freedom of speech is being severely constrained.”

“One could argue it is unconstitutional,” continued Ghafoor. “I don’t see how giving your opinion of the truth equals harassment”.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Lawyer Hisaan Hussain used social networks to express her belief that calling someone a ‘baaghee’ is not a criminal offense.

Meaningful dialogue

Since his accession to the Presidency, Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s public appearances have often been accompanied by heckling crowds disputing the legitimacy of his government.

As well as calling for early presidential elections, the anti-government demonstrations have attempted to mock and ridicule leading government figures as part of a well-choreographed non-violent strategy.

The harassment of politicians has recently been central to the government’s negotiations with the opposition MDP.

During the last round of the UN-mediated roadmap talks in June, pro-government parties presented the MDP’s representatives with a list of 30 suggestions for resolving political tensions in the country which included calls to stop the harassment of political figures.

However, the list also included calls for the MDP to stop the use of “black magic” and “erotic tools”, leading the MDP to interpret a lack of sincerity on the part of the pro-government group.

More recently, President Waheed said that he would not engage in the all-party talks until the harassment of his officials stopped.

The MDP announced last week that it intended to suspend its program of anti-government demonstrations in order to “facilitate meaningful dialogue”.

This move was initially welcomed by the government, before protesters targeted Vice President Waheed Deen as he attended a ceremony in Hulhumale, causing Abbas to tell local media that the government’s participation in talks may have to be reconsidered.

Freedom within limits

During a speech given in June, President Waheed stated his belief that freedom of expression ought not to be permitted to the extent that it impinged on the rights of others.

“People misuse the right to freedom of expression and yell whatever words that come to mind at other people. You have seen and heard this, not just on TV or radio, but on the streets, in front of houses and schools. This is not how it should be,” Dr Waheed was reported as saying.

As well as being enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to freedom of expression is listed in the 2008 Maldivian Constitution as one of the fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens.

The right to freedom of speech, however, has long been met with caveats and provisos which in effect limit the ability of individuals to unrestricted expression.

Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights espoused the right to freedom of expression whilst delineating restrictions it describes as “necessary in a democratic society”.

The list of exceptions includes constraints “for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others”.

Similarly, the right to freedom of speech is guaranteed by the first amendment to the US constitution but has been restricted by subsequent Supreme Court rulings which have included issues concerning incitement, false statements of fact, and obscenity.

During the speech, Waheed expressed his hope that the People’s Majlis would move to curb the actions of those who, he felt, were abusing this fundamental freedom.


22 thoughts on “Police crack down on ‘harassment’ of politicians”

  1. Freedom has meant many different and often contradictory things in Western Political philosophy.

    But never has freedom implied allowing somebody to harass a nine year old child. I am sure that all the Fathers and Mothers reading this would understand me when I say that May Maumoon Abdul-Gayooms Prayers help any so and so if they harassed my Son, I'd...

    Anyway, I find it hard to believe that anybody really could harass a nine year old, I don't know the full story so I can't judge.

    But we all know that, this is not really about protecting the innocent, is it? This is the preliminary work for the cultivation of tyranny in the name of the creation of social order, unity and social harmony.

    It is not about making the Maldives 'ONE BIG happy family again' either, unless, Umar Naseer is your Daddy! Hehehe...

  2. according to a classmate of mr.shaheem's son, the kids in the class continue to talk about shaheem's son as baaghee's son. it is unfortunate that these things affect our kids and psychologically very damaging. but i don't think shaheem and his partners in the government now have much concern about the children of this country...coz if they had, they wouldn't have brought this country down to what it is now...

  3. The only reason Shaheem lodged the case is because OK Zahir calls his son a baagee or a traitor.

    What's the logic in that? How can OK Zahir terrorize the kid? Where is the kids right?

    ... hypocrites! This article is biased.

  4. What was the real reason that lead to this "needed coup"?
    1. President Nasheed been controlled & hijacked by Mariya and Rekko Moosa internally within MDP and continous request to make illegal actions such as personal gains for both of these corrupt individuals.
    2. Nasheed been obsessed with power and soon started to celebrate the small victory of the local elections with "night partying" as teenagers do with boozing with his MP's and party thugs openly!
    3. Arrogance of him and his MP's!
    4. Characters such as Ali Shiyam taking advantage of him and position for personal gains!
    5. Attraction of Hippocrates to the inner core with all the "fun" activities in night time with young girls and boys!!
    Nasheed need to reflect back now and step down and handover MDP to a new breed if he wants to reform and save the country from the old dictator and police brutality!! Nasheed is all to blame!!

  5. no matter what your political position is, you should have some decency in restraining yourself when your political opponent is with his or her kids,
    why bring family into this?

    completely unnecessary and coldblooded
    the kid's going to grow up with some form of psychological issues from these things

  6. If your son was being harassed by oppositions politicians wouldn't you file a case too. The kid is nine year old for gods sake.

  7. same old minivan news propagenda.
    shame on you daniel bosley!!
    this case is not about 'freedom of expression' this is a clear cut case of child abuse.
    i hope this mdp thug is fined a huge sum of is locked.

  8. Daniel Bosley. Please go meddle with the affairs of your queen, and stay away from our country's affairs.
    Our people will stand up for what they need

  9. This is not propagenda! This is happening, and will happen!

    This very Ramazan, a couple of bearded Muslims with their accompanying caps were seated in a cafe, breaking fast.

    Abbas Adhil Riza came in and sat behind one of these bearded guys, almost touching their backs due to lack of space!

    In a conversation Riza thinking that the people with beards were from the Adhaalath Party, started prodding and commenting "Miulhey thumbulhi lee mal'uoonun", meaning these bearded crooks, rogues, scoundrels, villains etc., etc.!

    The bearded people were patient until the prodding was over and casually said that people who are brought up feeding with things bought with illegally earned money such as kick backs for ending up cases in courts of justice as and how they want would have no decency to publicly say things portraying their ignorance and weaknesses etc., and it was said that Mr. Riza without saying anything immediately departed!

    Mr. Riza is the son of a professional ex-judge and a legal advisor to the Ministry of Defense during the reign of Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom who ruled this country with an iron fist for 30 years!

    If this was not harassment let the said harassment of OK Zahir be as it is (this Shaheem deserves more than simple verbal haressment), would Mr. Riza or someone please tell me what is harassment?

    Riza to my belief does need medical care and attention. Also need to detoxify his tongue!

  10. giving opinion about Shaheem to his 9-year old kid is not harassment? Such people should be dealt with properly and news media that encourages such acts should be dealt with according to the law by the Media Council. Freedom of speech cannot be used to justify harassment, child abuse and invasion into private lives.

  11. Freedom of abusing underage children. If Hamid is to legitimize it we'll call both of them as Pedophiles.
    Its a shame to produce this kind piece of news.

  12. Ok Mr. Bosley, we now know what UN, EU and US laws say about freedom of expression. But can you please tell us what these laws say about child abuse and haressment.

  13. @ patriot.

    This article is a text book example of propagenda.
    Just see how the "journalist" presented the case where this MDP individual approach an underage boy multiple times abusing his father and uttering socially unacceptable things to this young child. I applaud the minister for charging this MDP pervert for the sake of his child.

    And in your little story, if the said bearded people feels that Abbas Adil Riza was harassing them, they are free to charge him for that. Also its worth noting that someone doing a wrong thing doesnt give an excuse for others to do wrong.

  14. Why was this MDP guy going after a 9 year old boy? And why was MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor defending him? It raise some eyebrows.
    This maybe unreleated but few months back an MDP MP was found guilty of pedophelia by the courts.

  15. Well I have heard ok Zahir has denied harassing the child and since when is calling a traitor Baghee a punishable offence. Obviously President Nasheed and top officials of his party's children can never be traumatised even if these shameless people in power while in opposition went and vandalised the living room of a ministers house waking up his children and went and screamed and tried to climb the gates of president
    Nasheed's residence while his children were there. Now in Maldives some are definetly more equal than others.

  16. @hathim

    it doesnt matter whose kids they are children are children, whether its MDP or DRP or badhige party, doesnt matter,
    if someone does something horrible it doesnt mean you should go poke the eye of some other poor child, really hathim you represent a form of deception that the world doesnt need much of

  17. @Hathim is spot on! Equality! Your a legend for saying this because it is an important point.

    All children are sacred! No matter who the parents are, whether the richest Seedhi or Didi or a heroin addicted prostitute from the lowest class from the most powerless Island with a foul temper, children are ALL sacred and should have equal rights and protection!

    @Ali: Bit extreme, Daniel Bosely didn't harass the boy himself he's just the messenger...

  18. @hathim
    "well i have heard that ok zahir has denied harassing the child".
    who would admit doing such a thing?
    there are strong evidence against him. hope he face a heavy sentence.

  19. Keep 9you kids out of it.

    Unless they are packing an uzi of course.

    Let them enjoy their jelly beans.

  20. My dear me!

    "This article is a text book example of propagenda".

    It is hard to say which is not propagenda, even when commenting!

    Rule of Law is not a one way street!

    When this minister took the stand to bring down an elected body by force, he should have understood the consequences and understood !

  21. @patriot
    there is a controversy whether the said elected government was brought by force or not. the issue is under investigation.
    suppose, even if the investigation finds that it was a coup and the minister played a part, it gives no right for the mdp pervert to abuse and harass his young child. since when did children become guilty for the crimes commited by their parents?
    its also shameful the way in which this story was written by this site.


Comments are closed.